I recently received the following message from an aspiring author who asked a couple of “those questions” so many other aspiring authors have that I felt it deserved more than just a quick or private response. Here’s her question:
I have been attempting my first try at writing a book. I am putting the finishing touches on it now. But, I do not have a clue what’s next and how to go about finding a publisher . Can you please help? Thank you I am a new subscriber to your website and am loving every minute of it!
So, the first question I read in this is, “what’s next?” My immediate response is — start on your next book. Here’s why: Your first book or even first several books may not be publishable, at least not by the traditional route. Over the past year I’ve read and heard (via podcasts like one of my favorite, Writing Excuses) a number of well known and well published authors confess how many books they wrote before finally selling one to a publisher. The numbers ranged from one (though hardly the norm) to seven to twelve. Ouch!
And most writers are probably familiar with the now famous quote that goes something like this:
The first million words you write don’t count.
The other reason to get on with your next book is…well, you’re a writer now and writers write, right? But there’s also another question to address: “How do I go about finding a publisher?”
How indeed? But here I believe there’s another question each author needs to ask themselves first — especially nowadays. That question is:
“Do I want to concentrate primarily on the ‘traditional book publishing route’ or is it a better fit to concentrate my efforts in becoming an ‘indie author.’ (which is today’s catch phrase to describe someone who’s focusing on the “self publishing route”.)
Now, you may have an immediate negative reaction to that latter idea — self publishing. If so, either get over it, or know that for you, for now, the traditional route is where to focus your efforts. You see, the publishing world is in the midst of some radical changes. You might even describe them as transformational…maybe of the caliber of when that Gutenberg guy built the first printing press.
A significant part of the change/transformation is that many authors, including published, unpublished, newbies, and old-timers, are going the self publishing route. Of course, that’s a subject that could legitimately fill many other blog posts (and probably will), but here are just a few reasons you might want to consider self publishing:
- No need to find a literary agent,
- You can cut off months, even a year or longer off the publishing cycle
- Your potential profit per book is much higher
- You have much more control over such matters as the book cover, the content, layout, etc.
So, I believe this question really needs to be asked and answered first, and I recommend you give it some quality “purposeful pondering” time. If you haven’t already done so, read about the changes that are taking place in the industry, and look to see which of these directions feel like a better fit for your personality and your purpose in writing.
And remember, your not necessarily blocking off the other route. You’re simply making a choice which one will be your primary focus. In future posts, I’ll explore the process I took that led me to choosing to focus primarily on the self publishing route, and what I’m learning along the way — the good, the bad and the ‘not so pretty.’
Now, it’s your turn. What insights have you gleaned from today’s posting? If you’re an author or aspire to be, which publishing route are you taking or would take? Leave me a comment or two so I know there are still people alive out there!
And I’m back to working on “My Manifesto for Visionary Writers” so I can start the Bloginar in early October. Stay tuned.